Review of events

Farmers Interest Group meeting fosters relations with Romanian organic sector
20 – 22 June 2018, Sibiu, Romania

IFOAM EU Interest Group of Organic Farmers during their excursion to a small-scale farm near Sibiu. Photo credit: Heiner Gröschner

The IFOAM EU Interest Group of Organic Farmers held their first meeting of the year in Bucharest and Sibiu, Romania on 20 - 22 June. The first day of the meeting started with a round table discussion in the Parliament palace in Bucharest with high-level Romanian politicians, including the Vice-Prime Minister Paul Stănescu and Agriculture Secretary of State Daniel Dumitru Botănoiu, to debate the role of organic farming within the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) proposal.

The IFOAM EU farmers then travelled to the Sâmbăta de Sus Monastery, in the heart of Transilvania, and had an excursion at a local small-scale farm.

During the second day of the meeting, the main topic on the agenda was the new proposal for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the upcoming position of IFOAM EU. The discussion focused on concrete points of the proposal including the overall budget for the CAP, its green architecture based on Eco-Schemes and Rural Development, the newly proposed system of objectives and indicators, risk management schemes within CAP, measures for young farmers and small farmers. Other topics on the farmers’ agenda were the EU proposal to regulate Unfair Trading Practices; Bio Austria gave a presentation about capacity building and a new Steering Committee of the Farmers Group was elected for the term from 2018 to 2020.

The future of copper use in agriculture - Discussion in the European Parliament 
10 July 2018, Brussels, Belgium

EP Panel. Photo credit: Isabella Lang

Eric Gall, Deputy Director of IFOAM EU, participated to a panel discussion in the European parliament organised by the French MEP Angelique Delahaye (EPP, France).  Under the heading “Copper in agriculture – Beyond the ban: which model do we want for the future”, representatives from science, civil society and policy makers discussed possible ways to reduce copper use in plant protection in the future. Together with our members from the French organic farming association (FNAB) IFOAM EU emphasised the fact that plant health care in organic farming is not only about input replacement but seeks holistic strategies to minimise the use of external inputs like copper.

Talks are currently ongoing at EU level about copper minimization and the possible re-authorisation of copper as a plant protection product. The fact that the European Commission gave a mandate to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to develop a Guidance Document for the risk assessment of mineral substances is an important step towards a sound assessment of naturally occurring mineral substances.

Final event of IFOAM EU's ‘Keeping GMOs out of food’ project – Debate on New Genetic Engineering Techniques: what is at stake for the agricultural sector?
11 July 2018, Brussels, Belgium

Started in 2014, IFOAM EU’s ‘Keeping GMOs out of food’ project was officially closed during its final event organised on 11 July, where. The main achievements of the project – advocacy work, publications, etc – were presented. This event was also an opportunity for IFOAM EU, La Via Campesina, Copa-Cogeca, European Commission representatives, and participating civil society organisations to debate the legal status of new genetic engineering techniques, and different approaches to the future of European agriculture.

As the GMOs issue remains crucial for the organic sector, IFOAM EU launched a new project “Keeping GMOs out of organics” to be able to continue its advocacy work to help the organic sector to continue to remain GMO-free. The new project will focus on new genetic engineering techniques.

IFOAM EU would like to thank again its main sponsors that made all these activities possible: Bio Suisse, DO-IT, Rapunzel, Software AG Stiftung, and Vivi Verde (Coop Italia).

 

9th GMO-free region conference in Berlin
6-7 September 2018

Eric Gall talking about the precautionary principle during the GMO-free Region conference, 6 September, Berlin. Photo credit: Pauline Verrière

On 6-7 September, the 9th GMO-free region conference took place in Berlin. After the recent decision of the European Court of Justice on the legal status on new GMOs, this conference provided NGOs and regions representatives with the opportunity to discuss the challenges for agriculture and environment in this new context.

IFOAM EU co-organised two workshops on the EU political situation regarding new GMOs. On 6 September, Eric Gall, IFOAM EU Deputy Director participated to the panel discussion ‘Living with CRISPR’ and highlighted the necessity to use the precautionary principle both with risk management and risk assessment. On 7 September, Pauline Verrière, Policy Officer, presented the common position of the organic movements on new GMOs and provided an overview of the positive welcome of European civil society regarding the decision of the European Court of Justice.

The conference was concluded by Mrs Tappeser, President of the European GMO-free Regions Network and State Secretary of the Hessen Ministry for Environment, who presented the Berlin Declaration adopted during the conference by the GMO-free Regions Network, notably asking for a moratorium on ‘Gene-drive’.

 

 

 

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